Eight Of 17 Voters Pick Yale To Finish First
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – If the prognosticators prove correct, it should be quite a battle for the Ivy League men's basketball title this winter. In the official league preseason poll, released today, Yale received eight of the 17 first-place votes from the media panel, but Harvard was projected to finish first. The Crimson (six first-place votes) had 121 points, three more than the Bulldogs. Defending champion Princeton received three first-place votes and had 114 points.
Penn (86 points), Columbia (55), Cornell (48), Dartmouth (39) and Brown (31) round out the poll.
Yale has a history of exceeding expectations. In nine of the last 12 years, the Bulldogs have finished higher that projected. Last year, Yale was picked third but advanced to the championship game of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament.
Expectations are certainly high again for the Bulldogs, who will be bolstered by the return of senior captain Makai Mason. Mason missed all of last season with an injury but has been selected as the Ivy preseason player of the year by a number of outlets, including NBCSports.com. In 2015-16, Mason earned first team All-Ivy recognition, becoming only the fourth sophomore in school history to be named to the first team and scored 31 points in Yale's NCAA Tournament victory over Baylor.
There are a number of other key returners for the Bulldogs, including sophomore Miye Oni, who has been named preseason All-Ivy by a number of outlets. Oni, a second team All-Ivy selection last year, was invited to the prestigious Nike Skills Academy over the summer where he shined, drawing attention from the NBA scouts in attendance.
In all, Yale welcomes back three of last year's top four scorers and five players, not including Mason, that averaged more than 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs will be under the direction of Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach James Jones, the dean of Ivy League coaches who begins his 19th season at the helm. Jones, the Ivy League Coach of the Year in both 2015 and 2016, is one of the most successful coaches in league history. His 150 Ivy victories and 272 overall wins are both the third most in league history. In addition, Yale has a .595 winning percentage in league games during his tenure, by far the highest in school history.
Yale's challenging 2017-18 schedule kicks off Nov. 10 at Creighton. The Bulldogs play 12 games against teams that won at least 20 games a year ago and six against teams that played in the NCAA Tournament. Yale also faces the two teams that met for the postseason NIT championship - winner TCU and runner up Georgia Tech.
2017-18 IVY LEAGUE MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
First-place votes in parentheses
Rank School Points
1. Harvard (6) 121
2. Yale (8) 118
3. Princeton (3) 114
4. Penn 86
5. Columbia 55
6. Cornell 48
7. Dartmouth 39
8. Brown 31
Report filed by Tim Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity